Sunday, 27 October 2013

Progress in Tbilisi: Presidential candidates in Georgia questioned on gay rights

Impressed that presidential candidates in Georgia were questioned on their views re "sexual minority rights". This is in itself a progress. Example to other countries in the region.

For the first time in the region, both main candidates were not afraid of publicly expressing their stance re LGBT rights, especially as this was generally in line with the protection of human rights for all and non-discrimination. They were not afraid that their views could alienate voters in a country where homophobia is widespread and fueled by highly influential Orthodox church.

However, in comparison, I consider the answer of Giorgi Margvelashvili (Georgian Dream) to be the best out of all candidates.

Sexual minority rights 

"What do you think on protection of sexual minority rights and their better integration in socio-political life?"
*WWW.PREZIDENTI.GE has been created to foster an informed political debate on the issues that are important to the Georgian society for upcoming Presidential Elections of October, 27. The Project: Support to the Development of Democratic Institutions in the South Caucasus is funded by the Embassy of Kingdom of the Netherlands to Georgia.

To these ends, the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) invited the registered presidential candidates to respond to 20 specific and policy related questions. Every candidate could have provided no more than 250 words when answering each of these questions.Website is available in 4 languages: Georgian, Armenian, Azeri and English.
Main candidates

Margvelashvili Giorgi » represents current PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream party
The objective of a democratic state is to protect the rights of every citizen. The protection of minority rights should be specially emphasised. The modern democracy consists in balancing rule by majority with the protection of minority. It takes a lot of attention and efforts to ensure that decisions made by majority do not restrict the minority rights. The government should never allow any discrimination, persecution or oppression of humans on any grounds. At the same time, it must create conditions for full and creative self-expression of every human being.

Bakradze David » represents the outgoing president Saakashvili’s United National Movement 
The UNM considers any discrimination, any restrictions of political and civil rights on any grounds as inacceptable. While remaining faithful to the essence of common beliefs about family relationships, it condemns any violence and expressions of xenophobia against members of sexual minorities.

Other candidates

Asatiani Akaki » Union of Georgian Traditionalists 
According to current Georgian legislation, the rights of sexual minorities are protected. Our task would be to steadily follow the legislation.

Bobokhidze Teimuraz » Initiative group 
The Georgian legislation, to the extent I know, does not put any restriction to the right of sexual minorities. Some people think the violation of right is the fact that representative of these minorities does not have the right to go through a service of marriage and to live together without benefit of clergy. Well, I believe they are allowed to get employed; they have free, unimpeded access to schools and colleges. If there are not, then it is up to the court of law to decide what the matter is in each specific case.

Burjanadze Nino » Democratic Movement - United Georgia
The persons of non-traditional sexual orientation should enjoy the same rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia and shall have the same responsibilities, as the citizens of traditional orientation. In Georgia it's always been and will always be so. The President should be the guarantor and protector of rights of each citizen.

Chikhladze Giorgi » Initiative group 
All citizens of Georgia have equal rights of participation in social life, despite their sexual orientation. The equality of rights is protected by the law, based on respective protective mechanisms.

Javakhidze Sergo » Justice for Georgia 
The state shall care for its citizens including the rights of its sexual minorities and shall facilitate their integration into political and social life.

Kharatishvili Zurab » European Democrats of Georgia
Georgia is a part of the Christian civilization and lives according to the respective rules. Such values as inviolability of life, right of property, institute of family, personal and national dignity are important for us. I think that each person should feel him/her a worthy member of a society, and difference according to this or that feature must not be a basis of violation or restriction of right. More exactly, we will not restrict anybody by ethnic affiliation and will not announce nontraditional sexual orientation a criminal offence. This concerns the private affair of a person and is not a business of the state or policy. The state on the one hand must ensure strengthening of the state status of the Georgian language, and on the other hand -finance and promote learning of Georgian by the ethnic minorities. As well, the state must in every way strengthen the institute of traditional family and on the other hand - do not allow violation in respect of people with nontraditional sexual orientation. At the same time it should be mentioned that we will not support the institute of same-sex marriage, because this contradicts the traditional concept of a marriage. Why we should change the contents of the concept of a marriage? We know that a marriage is a union between man and woman.  In the same-sex marriage this means the union of two any person.  In such case I would ask - why only two? It is understandable that this carries us to the point of absurdity.

Margiani Avtandili » Initiative group 
Historically the rights of sexual minorities in Georgia have never been violated, it is not violated now and considering the general tolerance of our nation, it will not be violated in the future. Being a sexual minority always meant maintaining of low profile or keeping of one’s private life in secret. Advertising and arrangement of sexual minority demonstrations/parades will facilitate debauchery, which shall be prohibited from moral standpoint.

Mzhavia Teimuraz » Christian-Democratic People’s Party 
The given question has several aspects - a right in general, exercising of the right and argumentation of the conceptual approach to the issue. The right of the sexual minorities to carry out actions corresponding to their own choice, is regulated by the appropriate legislative act „The framework convention of the Council of Europe concerning protection of the sexual minorities“, which does not allow anybody to interfere in the above mentioned choice, and in my opinion also envisages that representatives of the sexual minorities may not demand from the so called sexual majority in this or that form unconditional recognition of their choice. This provision is unequivocally written in the above mentioned legislative act. I think the state should actively participate in balancing of differing interests. Otherwise its activity will not be justified, and as to the issue of provision of their equal rights in the social-political life of the country, it is to be considered in the context of protection of rights of any men/women. The basis of the main argument of my conceptual approach to the given issue, as the concrete citizen, is the unconditional recognition of the fact that the first source of  development of the world or maintenance of its viability, of evolution itinerary and the dynamics of dialectic regularities, that from the scientific point of view unconditionally depends on male and female relations not only in the biological organic sector of the world, but, as the modern science states, even in its inorganic part itself; when a human being opposes the stable foundations of the evolution  of a man, it calls into question even the perspective of existence of the man. I would state sincerely that I do not want that the mankind be in front of the choice, when his right will be on one  dish of scales, and on the other - an issue of his/her very existence in the world.

Natelashvili Shalva » Labour party of Georgia
Representatives of sexual minorities in Georgia have always participated in social and political life, they are inseparable parts of the social and political development of our country today, and I am sure they neither have nor had any problems with that. However, I do not think it is either fair or correct to demonstrate your sexual orientation in the streets having said that, I oppose any kind of violence.

Saluashvili Mikheil » Initiative group
Every citizen of Georgia, regardless of his sexual orientation paraded or covered, should have the equal rights. According to the Christian morality, it is necessary to fight against any form of sin, and not the person who committed this sin.

Targamadze Giorgi » Christian-Democratic Movement
Private life is inviolable. Therefore, the state cannot interfere unduly with the establishment of sexual orientation of specific people and their participation into social or political life. However, if equality means civil legal relationship such as marriage, then adopting children by same sex couples is naturally absolutely inacceptable. On the contrary, draft constitutional amendment had been proposed, pursuant to which the state shall recognize and uphold the marriage only between a woman and a man. Current edition of the Constitution does not specify the parties of the marriage and stipulates their equal rights only. Therefore, according to researchers’ opinion, Civil Code contradicts with the Constitution of Georgia and chances to win the case of an individual appeal to the Constitutional Court are very high. Thus, same sex marriage can be considered legal in Georgia not through the adoption of certain bylaws, but by announcing the existing norm as an un-constitutional. Suggested draft involves the edition of the Constitutional norm that is accepted by the Constitution of EU member countries, such as Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary.

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